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Using the QuickTime VR Control with PowerPoint

Learn how to use QuickTime VR Control with PowerPoint.


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PowerPoint And QuickTime

Is it true that PowerPoint does not work very well with QuickTime?

Probably its half-true - although PowerPoint on Windows does suffer from QT-phobia, PowerPoint on the Mac can interact very well with QuickTime. I already have a page onsite on the entire PowerPoint - QuickTime connection, so for those who need some introductory info, I'll recommend a visit there:

PowerPoint and QuickTime

This page looks at a new way to insert QuickTime (including QTVR) content into PowerPoint. Before we look into that, let's examine QTVR.

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QuickTime VR

QuickTime VR (or QTVR) stands for QuickTime Virtual Reality. The technology belongs to Apple Computer, Inc., the same company that creates the Apple Macintosh. In Apple's own words, QuickTime VR is an award-winning photorealistic cross-platform virtual reality technology that makes it possible to explore places as if you were really there. QTVR is also referred to as Immersive Photography, a term coined by by Ken Turkowski, one of the creators of this technology.

You'll find more info on QTVR at:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtvr/

QTVR has been a great success - in fact, it is one of the standards of picture panorama technologies. On the Windows platform, you can view QuickTime movies and QTVR panoramas using the free QuickTime Player and other QuickTime-aware applications (most of which use Apple's QuickTime API)

QTVR panoramic movies are usually created by stitching sequential digital or scanned pictures that rotate 360 degrees. Another variation of the concept is cubic panoramas that can be created from 6 images (up / down / left / right / front / behind) or from two or more fisheye images.

The QTVR page at Apple's site has more info on tools required to create QTVRs as well as links to view and download QTVR samples.

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Other Panorama Technologies

QTVR is not the only panorama picture technology - its main rivals are the proprietary IPIX format and other formats like iMove, Image Worlds, Ulead VR and VRML.

Most panorama software can also save to still image panoramas in JPEG format.

You can see a comparision of panorama technologies at the Panoguide site.

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QTVR ActiveX Control

Let's now discuss the actual product we are reviewing on this page.

The QTVR ActiveX Control is an ActiveX control that allows you to insert QuickTime content like QuickTime MOV videos and QuickTime VR panoramas and walkthroughs in most applications that can accept ActiveX controls. Not surprisingly, PowerPoint does accept ActiveX controls.

Since PowerPoint does not accept QuickTime content natively, the QTVR ActiveX Control is a great solution for those who have a library of QuickTime stuff. PowerPoint's presentation base makes it a natural container to play such media.

The QTVR Control is created by George Birbilis - I wish to thank him for helping me with this page. You'll find more info about the QTVR ActiveX Control at George's website:

QuickTime for All (QT4All)

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Download and Installation

You can download the QTVR ActiveX Control from George's website. The download weighs under 600 kb.

Double-click the downloaded file to install the QTVR ActiveX Control.

The installation places an unregistered copy of the ActiveX control that contains a nag screen whenever activated. The registered version of the Control can be bought online at George's site for US$150 and does not contain the nag screen.

Before we use the QTVR ActiveX Control from within PowerPoint, you'll have to make sure you have the QuickTime Player (actually the QuickTime multimedia platform) installed. This is a free download from the QuickTime site at:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime

The installation includes components like the QuickTime Player, Image Viewer, application and web browser controls/plugins.

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QTVR and QuickTime Samples

If you don't have any QTVR or QuickTime movies, you can download free samples from these sites - there are also a few links to sites with tutorials:

QTVR is only one of the panorama formats - you can learn more about creating your own panoramas at the excellent panoguide.com site. The Gallery page at panoguide.com has various panorama samples including some in the QTVR format.

The Multimedia Library has many impressive QTVR panoramas available for free download.

The QuickTime section of Apple's site has tons of movie trailers you can download - most of these are not QTVR files, just simple MOV videos.

Pete Black shows you how to create panoramas using free software.

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Inserting QTVR in PowerPoint

  1. Open or create a new PowerPoint presentation. Save it in the same folder as your sample QTVR file.

  2. Choose View -> Toolbars -> Control Toolbox - this will open the Control toolbar. This is how it looks in PowerPoint 2002. It may look different in your system.



  3. Near the bottom of this Control Toolbox, you'll find the 'More Controls' icon, represented by a hammer.

  4. Click on this icon to reveal a drop down list of available ActiveX controls.

  5. Click on the QTVRControlX option.



  6. Your cursor will change into a cross-hair - draw a rectangle anywhere on screen - don't bother about the size and location now - we'll take care of that later. If you are using an unregistered version of the QTVR Control, you'll see a nag screen - press OK and continue.

  7. Your rectangle will be invisible, since its only a placeholder - however, if you did not click anywhere, you'll find it surrounded by eight handles. If you accidentally click elsewhere on the slide and cannot find the Control rectangle, press Tab to toggle between all objects on the slide.



  8. Right-click anywhere inside the rectangle to reveal a fly-out menu. Choose the Properties option.



  9. The QTVRControlX Properties dialog box opens.
     


  10. Navigate to the saved QTVR panorama file and select it - you can also experiment with other settings as required.

  11. Press 'OK' to return to the presentation. Resize the QTVR area as required. You can preview the actual QTVR and QuickTime movies playing only in slideshow mode.

  12. Save your presentation. You're done!

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More Options and Info

George Birbilis has more info about other options on his site including some VBA code you might find helpful.

Visit the PowerPoint QTVR FAQ at his site...

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Disclaimer

This is just an experiment. No support can be provided for the techniques listed here.

If you need any support for the QTVR ActiveX Control, you can contact George Birbilis at http://zoomicon.com/qt4all/support.html

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